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Old September 13 2008, 02:52 PM   #16
Emh
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

Neroon wrote: View Post
Jan wrote: View Post
The cliffhanger would have been events that happened in 417.
That's "Face of the Enemy" for those not wanting to look it up.
Too late. I already looked it up.

That would have served as a great season finale, but I don't think, while an excellent episode on its own merit, "Intersections in Real Time" would have served as a strong season premiere.
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Old September 13 2008, 03:00 PM   #17
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

Starfleet Engineer wrote: View Post
stonester1 wrote: View Post
First, it wasn't just another cliched shootout. Second, it was following a theme JMS had from the start. That despite the power and knowledge posessed by the Vorlons and the Shadows, they weren't gods, they didn't know and see all. And like humans, and reasonably, any sentient being, when taken from their comfort zone, they become insecure.
That's all acceptable to me. I had no particular desire to see the war end in a shootout. What was unsatisfying was the unbelievably weak way it was executed and, in addition, the very jarring effect of having spent over three seasons on this and then have the Vorlons and Shadows and the war disappear in an instant. Of course, maybe something in the future explains this and I'm just not there yet. I'm open to better undetstanding things as I continue to watch.
I felt similarly my first time through. But you know what the really surprising thing is?

The explanation you're seeking-----the justification for this particular development----it isn't ahead of you. It's behind. If you watch the show again, knowing this is coming, you'll pick up quite a number of clues which all point to this as pretty much the only possible ending.

It's very subtle foreshadowing....perhaps even too subtle, since so many people seem surprised when they get to this point. You have to look beyond what you expect in order to pick up on most of the clues.

These guys both wanted nothing more than to guide the younger races into improving themselves. After Sheridan rejected them, they tried to kill him. But after the rest of the fleet rejected them as well.....what recourse did they have? Destroy the entire fleet? They could have done that, but then none of those races would ever see either of them as anything but a threat. They would be unable to achieve their goals. This is the reason why Sheridan wanted the largest fleet in history; not for its military value, but for the large fraction of the sentient races it represented. Faced with that reality, and with Lorien----whom both sides respected a great deal----counseling withdrawal, was there really another option open to them besides leaving, that wouldn't have seemed petty and spiteful?

Sheridan's "Get the hell out of our galaxy!" line is the one that doesn't sit well with me, because it gives him too much credit. By that point in the confrontation the outcome was already decided, and his parting shot had nothing to do with the First Ones' decision. Everything he said before that, sure, important. But the last one? Just simple human anger, nothing more.
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Last edited by Lindley; September 13 2008 at 03:11 PM.
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Old September 13 2008, 03:29 PM   #18
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

As to the Shadows and Vorlons reacting like whiney children at the end - I think, if you look at it, the Shadows' and Vorlons' behavior was always childish. They were playground bullies, control freaks, always wanting their own way no matter who they hurt.

And as to the end of the war being anticlimactic - well, it was apparently good enough for (here I go) Deep Space Nine to rip off. After all that fighting, Odo just talks the "Female Shape Shifter" into stopping? Hm. Original.

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Old September 13 2008, 03:38 PM   #19
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

Forbin wrote: View Post
And as to the end of the war being anticlimactic - well, it was apparently good enough for (here I go) Deep Space Nine to rip off. After all that fighting, Odo just talks the "Female Shape Shifter" into stopping? Hm. Original.
"Now, get the hell out of"--oops, wait, no swearing in the 24th century.

"Now, get out of our galaxy!"--err, quadrant, sorry.
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Old September 13 2008, 03:40 PM   #20
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

I loved the ending as I felt it fit in perfectly with everything that went on before it especially in light of the conversations in "Za'ha'dum."
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Old September 13 2008, 03:43 PM   #21
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

Forbin wrote: View Post
After all that fighting, Odo just talks the "Female Shape Shifter" into stopping? Hm. Original.

"What You Leave Behind" does have some problems in retrospect, but I'm not sure that's one of them. There were several occasions when the Female Changeling said that securing Odo's return to the Great Link was more important that the entire alpha quadrant-----even moreso once she knew he had the cure to the disease. He agreed to go; she therefore got what she wanted.
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Old September 13 2008, 04:00 PM   #22
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

Neroon wrote: View Post
Jan wrote: View Post
The cliffhanger would have been events that happened in 417.
That's "Face of the Enemy" for those not wanting to look it up.



Stone_Cold_Sisko wrote: View Post
clunky dialogue and wooden acting? on Babylon 5?

NO WAY! :-P
mmhmm.... just like in TNG, DS9, Stargate, BSG ......
I didn't really watch stargate so i cant speak to it, but in general, I disagree. The acting is consistently better imo on the other shows, and BSG is superior in every way except plotting of arc.
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Old September 13 2008, 05:30 PM   #23
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

Each of them has had several examples of your "clunky dialog and wooden acting". First two seasons of TNG and DS9 are perfect examples. As with BSG, who says I was referring to the newer generation? But even nuBSG has had problems itself, most of which is very subjective as to how much or how good/bad. For my taste, "Firefly" was one of the rarities when it comes to avoiding the "wooden acting". Since it lasted only 14 episodes, who's to say it wouldn't have had problems later down the line?

The point is that those symptoms are things most shows go through, particularly early on as the cast and crew get familiar with the stories and with each other. One thing that made B5 a little different was its use of a more stage-like presentation. That can affect a different perception as to quality, when there isn't as great a distinction. To be sure, B5's secondary actors were very "wooden" but then the show was on such a tight budget that it didn't surprise me at all. But I do feel their frontline performers compare very favorably with the best out there. True, they had a somewhat fitful start, but again... that's almost to be expected with just about any show.

The dialog at times was definitely clunky. Not much use in ignoring that. However, I never felt it was a distraction or all that frequent. I was so engrossed in the characters and overall story that minor annoyances were never anything more than that: minor annoyances.
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Old September 13 2008, 06:04 PM   #24
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

Yep. That's one of the bigger writing blunders I've seen on an otherwise well-written sci fi TV show. You'll get people trying to justify it, but you really can't justify it according to the internal logic of the story. The external logic must also be there - a story must be structured so that a conflict ramps up to a satisfying conclusion, not just fizzles out because the writer can't come up with anything better.

I love the fact that the war is resolved through Sheridan standing in front of these powerful elder races and telling them that they're wrong and they aren't needed any longer.
In theory, this might have worked, but the execution fell far short. The first problem is that Sheridan was not built up to the level - in terms of moral authority - where I would believe for one minute the Shadows and Vorlons would care what he had to say on this or any other topic.

This plot twist is certainly better than a dumb-ass shoot-out (tho those can also be good), but required a hell of a lot more establishing work that never happened - work on not just Sheridan but also the Vorlons and especially the Shadows who were nothing more than cyphers who, as far as we knew, respected only power. Now they have a moral conscience? Since when?

Also in this scene, Sheridan and Delenn do a lot of talking/explaining the overall picture of what's been going on and it was quite clunky
Over-exposition is a sure sign of a plot twist that hasn't been adequately set up. If it had been, we'd all instantly "get" what's happening without anyone having to say much at all. It's that "OH!" factor that all great plot twists have - you don't see it coming but you get it when it arrives. Very hard to pull off well, and writers often flub this, either by making the foreshadowing too obvious so it's not a surprise, or (as seems to be the case here) not making the foreshadowing obvious enough.

and Sheridan's acting was quite wooden.
Blame whoever hired Boxleitner, I don't think the guy is capable of the level of acting that would be required even if the scene had been properly set up and written.

Another problem here is the stature of the villains. Great villains have stature that overshadows the hero - they may not be morally right, but they have other qualities, such as the courage to take risks, strategic savvy, wisdom. The Vorlons and Shadows were revealed to lack stature, which made them unworthy adversaries. I don't want to watch a story about childish morons. That's what TNZ is for.

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Old September 13 2008, 06:18 PM   #25
Stone_Cold_Sisko
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

Neroon wrote: View Post
Each of them has had several examples of your "clunky dialog and wooden acting". First two seasons of TNG and DS9 are perfect examples. As with BSG, who says I was referring to the newer generation? But even nuBSG has had problems itself, most of which is very subjective as to how much or how good/bad. For my taste, "Firefly" was one of the rarities when it comes to avoiding the "wooden acting". Since it lasted only 14 episodes, who's to say it wouldn't have had problems later down the line?

The point is that those symptoms are things most shows go through, particularly early on as the cast and crew get familiar with the stories and with each other. One thing that made B5 a little different was its use of a more stage-like presentation. That can affect a different perception as to quality, when there isn't as great a distinction. To be sure, B5's secondary actors were very "wooden" but then the show was on such a tight budget that it didn't surprise me at all. But I do feel their frontline performers compare very favorably with the best out there. True, they had a somewhat fitful start, but again... that's almost to be expected with just about any show.

The dialog at times was definitely clunky. Not much use in ignoring that. However, I never felt it was a distraction or all that frequent. I was so engrossed in the characters and overall story that minor annoyances were never anything more than that: minor annoyances.
I'll give you the first two seasons of TNG. Some dreadfully clunky acting and dialogue.
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Old September 13 2008, 06:21 PM   #26
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
In theory, this might have worked, but the execution fell far short. The first problem is that Sheridan was not built up to the level - in terms of moral authority - where I would believe for one minute the Shadows and Vorlons would care what he had to say on this or any other topic.

This plot twist is certainly better than a dumb-ass shoot-out (tho those can also be good), but required a hell of a lot more establishing work that never happened - work on not just Sheridan but also the Vorlons and especially the Shadows who were nothing more than cyphers who, as far as we knew, respected only power. Now they have a moral conscience? Since when?
I think you hit the nail on the head right there. The whole thing is a good idea, and it sure sounds great when JMS is explaining it on the newsgroup and such, but the execution was just... not there on screen, and not established at all. It really did feel like it came out of nowhere.
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Old September 13 2008, 06:26 PM   #27
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
This plot twist is certainly better than a dumb-ass shoot-out (tho those can also be good), but required a hell of a lot more establishing work that never happened - work on not just Sheridan but also the Vorlons and especially the Shadows who were nothing more than cyphers who, as far as we knew, respected only power. Now they have a moral conscience? Since when?
The Shadows and Vorlons care little for the lives of individuals, but they have both shown a great deal of interest in the enhancement of the lesser species as a whole. Each in their own, opposed ways.

That's what the point of Into the Fire was. It wasn't just Sheridan rejecting their leadership----it was everyone. As in, entire species at once. And once the First Ones realized their only power over the younger races was in the ability to destroy them, they had no remaining reason to fight----each other, or the younger worlds.

This does require *some* interpretation, but not overly much. The clues were all laid out in plain sight.
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Old September 13 2008, 06:42 PM   #28
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Yep. That's one of the bigger writing blunders I've seen on an otherwise well-written sci fi TV show. You'll get people trying to justify it, but you really can't justify it according to the internal logic of the story. The external logic must also be there - a story must be structured so that a conflict ramps up to a satisfying conclusion, not just fizzles out because the writer can't come up with anything better.
Whether it was a satisfying conclusion is VERY open to interpretation. This was never about a "gee whiz space battle". However, it was about that ideological battle Sheridan speaks about. Everything I have ever read or heard about the show's development indicates that. This was not something jms just threw in there because he couldn't write his way out. It certainly was not perfectly executed, but then that was caused more by outside factors than the series' design. B5 was not a series that spelled things out in clear-cut, can't miss lettering such as you got in Trek ad nauseum.

Don't misconstrue me as a blindly faithful B5 apologist. Yet as Lindley puts it, the clues are there. The setup is there. It simply isn't displayed as vividly as audiences - myself included - have come to expect. Perhaps it does require a certain amount of rewatching, and that could be a flaw in some folks' eyes. OTOH, I rather apprecaite the chance taken on a different path.
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Old September 13 2008, 07:10 PM   #29
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

I think that the problem, such as it is, was that there wasn't enough time to illustrate properly that it wasn't just Sheridan and Delenn who understood and rejected the ideologies that the Shadows and Vorlons represented. All of the other races got it, but it was only illustrated by the ships which put themselves in the path of the missiles to protect Sheridan's White Star. But for those who claim that they didn't see it coming, watch "The Fall of Night" again to see when it was that Sheridan understood how deceptive and manipulative the Vorlons were. It was only a short step to realize that the Shadows did the same as they persuaded and manipulated races to war with each other.

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Old September 13 2008, 07:45 PM   #30
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Re: End of Shadow War = Lame

We never got to know an individual Shadow, really, but we DID get to know an individual Vorlon, Kosh. Discussing it with friends, we got the impression that the Vorlons wanted someone on B5 as an observer/representative to the other races, but it wasn't really a desired assignment. We decided that Kosh volunteered for it and the other Vorlons eagerly gave it to him. He probably has a reputation among his people as quite the bleeding heart liberal. The Vorlon that came after, probably more representative of the dominating attitude of his people, although I don't necessarily believe that most Vorlons are such over assholes. But they probably are aloof, arrogant, and really don't have time for the other races as individuals.

Kosh Naranek was an exception. He WAS interested in the other races as individuals, and sought to spend time with them. He had his own agenda, and was a representative of his people. But he wasn't just about that. He also had affection for individuals, cared about them. There was no doubt he felt for Sheridan, for example.

Lindley wrote: View Post
The Shadows and Vorlons care little for the lives of individuals, but they have both shown a great deal of interest in the enhancement of the lesser species as a whole. Each in their own, opposed ways.

That's what the point of Into the Fire was. It wasn't just Sheridan rejecting their leadership----it was everyone. As in, entire species at once. And once the First Ones realized their only power over the younger races was in the ability to destroy them, they had no remaining reason to fight----each other, or the younger worlds.

This does require *some* interpretation, but not overly much. The clues were all laid out in plain sight.
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